"It's a code," he cried, "a naval code, evidently the very one they used to communicate with those boats. I'll wager the Washington people even haven't a copy of it. That's a great find. Come on, we've got enough for one night."
"Do any of the men in our party understand wireless?" asked Jane as they descended.
"Sure," said Carter, "Sills does. He used to be the radio man on a battleship."
"Couldn't he be left on watch here?" suggested Jane, "and try to signal those X-boats and keep them waiting until to-morrow night? Maybe by that time our--"
"I get you," cried Carter; "that's a good idea. Explain it to the Chief."
As Jane unfolded her plan, suggesting the possibility of sending American cruisers out to search for the X-boats after Sills had lured them by false messages to the surface, Fleck heartily approved of it.
"I'll leave Sills here with one other man to guard the house," he said.
"We'll have to let poor Dean's body remain here for the present, too.
We'll need all the room in the cars for the prisoners."
There was still much to be done. While some of the men were unceremoniously carrying out the shackled prisoners and piling them in the cars, others, under Carter's direction, crippled the three "wonder-workers" and dismantled them, carrying their dangerous cargo of bombs into the woods and concealing them.
None of the prisoners, since the moment the shackles had been put on, had uttered a word. Sullen silence held all of them unprotestingly in its grip. Even Frederic kept his peace, though from time to time his glance roved about, seeking Jane, and always in his eyes was a strange look, not of defeat, nor of shame, but rather of exultant triumph. Jane still dared not trust herself to look in his direction, but Fleck and Carter, too, observed curiously the expression in his eyes. Was he, they wondered, rejoicing over Dean's untimely end? Did he, with true Prussian arrogance, in spite of the failure of his plot, still dare to hope that with Dean out of the way, he might escape punishment and yet win Jane Strong? Even as they picked him up, the last of the prisoners, and put him in the rear seat of the chief's car, his eyes still sought for Jane.
It was long after midnight before the strange cavalcade left the mountain shack. Fleck's car led the way, with the chief himself at the wheel, and Jane beside him. Crowded on the rear seat were Frederic and two other prisoners, and standing in the tonneau, facing them with his revolver drawn in case they should make an attempt to escape in spite of their shackles, was Fleck's chauffeur. Carter was at the wheel of the second car with five prisoners and a man on guard, and the arrangement in the third car was the same. Six men and a girl to transport thirteen prisoners! Inwardly Fleck was congratulating himself on his forethought in having provided shackles enough to go around, for otherwise he surely would have had a perilous job on his hands.